20 common ways to say goodbye in French (with audio pronunciation)

You just ate in a lovely restaurant in the centre of Bordeaux. You paid, left a tip to the friendly waiter and are about to leave.

And you wonder…Should you say “au revoir”? Or is it “salut”? You want to sound friendly, but not too informal.

Oh and you’d love to communicate your desire to come back to try that fondant au chocolat the couple sitting at the next table is eating.

If only you knew more ways to say goodbye in French!

Here are 20 ways to say “goodbye” in French!

Au revoir – The most common French goodbye

“Au revoir” is the most common way to say “goodbye” in French. You can use with anyone in any situation without being rude but it can come across as overly formal in some situations.

If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that most people pronounce it “anrvoir” instead of “au revoir”.

That’s because the French tend to drop letters and delete words when they speak, something I explain in detail in this article.

If you’re a beginner, I recommend you to start by learning the correct pronunciation and to wait to reach a conversational level before you learn the shortened version.

Otherwise, your “au revoir” is unlikely to be understood.

Salut – The casual goodbye

“Au revoir” is great but it sounds way too formal as a “goodbye” to friends, family members and people you know well.

That’s when “salut” comes in. You may know it as the French equivalent of “hi” but did you know you can also use it to say “bye”?

The only difference with the English “bye” is that French is a more formal language in general, so you’ll rarely hear a seller say “bye” unless you’re a teenager.

A bientôt – See you

If you know you’re going to see someone again soon (or hope you will), you can use one of these ways to say goodbye in French:

  • À bientôt (see you soon)
  • À demain (see you tomorrow)
  • À plus tard (see you later)

Or one of these slightly more casual phrases:

  • À la prochaine (until next time)
  • À tout de suite (see you right away)
  • À tout à l’heure (see you later today)

If you spend time in France around the end of the year, you’re likely to hear the overused “à l’année prochaine” joke.

“A l’année prochaine” means “see you next year” and the whole idea of the joke is to confuse someone who forgot the year will soon change.

À plus – The short goodbye

I told you that the French love to shorten everything. Can you guess what’s supposed to come after “à plus”?

Yup, you guessed right. It’s the short version of “à plus tard”.

That’s a “goodbye” you’ll hear a lot in France and that you can use with your friends.

You can also write it “à +” when you’re texting or writing on the internet.

Ciao – The italian goodbye

This italian word is commonly used in French as an equivalent of “salut”. You can use it with friends.

While “ciao” means both “hi” and “bye” in Italian, it’s only used to say “bye” in French.

Adieu – Farewell

“Adieu” means “farewell”. You use it when you know you will never see the person again.

You could use it ironically with a friend who made a mistake and is now going to meet his boss to apologize for example.

Or you could use it when breaking up with someone you sincerely hope you’ll never see again.

Ravi d’avoir fait votre connaissance

This is the “goodbye” to use if you enjoyed spending time with someone.

It literally means “it was a pleasure to meet you”.

You can also use the more casual “ravi d’avoir fait ta connaissance” if you’re talking to someone younger or someone you’re now on a “tu” basis with;

Bonne continuation

This is a tricky goodbye because it doesn’t have any direct English equivalent.

It translates roughly as “enjoy the rest of…”. You use it in formal situations to say “all the best” or “good luck for the future”.

Bonne chance

“Bonne chance” is the French for “good luck”. You can use it to wish someone good luck in both formal and informal situations.

Bon courage

“Bon courage” also means “good luck” but it implies that the result depends more on the person’s actions and abilities than on luck.

You use it when someone is about to face difficulties or do something that’s generally considered complicated.

Have a nice…

French farewell

Just like English, lots of ways to say goodbye in French start with “good”. You can use them in both formal and informal situations.

Life is too short to stick to a single “goodbye” in French.

Next time you speak French, pick one from this list and use it!

You’ll be surprised by the difference a simple “goodbye” can make.

À bientôt !

Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters.

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  1. I would suggest the ‘literal’ translation should be the -literal- translation ;)…
    …sorry, but I often see subtitles that attempt to translate another language and they just ignore what was said and instead substitute some colloquialism… not that that’s the case here… I’m just suggesting constructive criticism of the use of the word ‘literally’. English speakers doing translation sometimes say ‘it literally means’ and also substitute something else. I think it’s very instructive and interesting to learn the actual literal translation and so perhaps learn some language history.
    As an example:
    Ravi d’avoir fait votre connaissance
    …literally means “delighted to have made your (knowledge)” or ‘acquaintance’… but informally, ‘it was a pleasure to meet you’.
    Sorry to nitpick. I like etymology and history of language… and knowing the actual words.
    The etymology of adieu is also interesting.

  2. I was taught that ”a bientot” meant “until later”. Is this also correct?
    (Sorry, I don’t have the French accent marks on my keyboard.)

  3. I generally use à bientôt with friends and family members, I tend to use au revoir with people I don’t know well. I was taught Metropolitan French so I have to ask are there differences in dialects with how you say goodbye?

    • I lived and learned in the S. of France. I have been told that there is a different dialect but, now I am learning the more Metropolitan French as I have forgotten much of what I learned in the past. Now, I hear the French have dropped the “pas” from “je ne mange pas” but I am learning it anyway. Far far from coversational!! IDK if that helps. Bonne chance !


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